I've always been what I considered to be politically ignorant. This wasn't so much a choice as it was a function of my brain. I was a preschool teacher, a kindergarten teacher and a first grade teacher. I have the attention span of a child of approximately those ages. Though I'm apt to believe childbirth has killed a moderate share of my brain cells and I am now leaning more towards the attention span of a toddler. Those of you who now have a toddler, or have had one in the past, know theri average attention span is nil, except when they have stumbled upon an unattended box of Kleenex, and then they are able to spend a minimum of three hours slowly pulling each individual Kleenex out of the box of 470 tissues, and then meticulously tearing each of them into pieces the size of sesame seeds. But I digress. Kleenex aside, children are not known for their abilities to pay attention to things. So, for obvious reasons related to such, it has been difficult for me to maintain the focus needed to follow what is the LONGEST FREAKING ELECTION PROCESS IN THE FREE WORLD!!! Every major election year, I would vow to learn, vow to listen to the candidates and their issues, vow to read the paper and news magazines, vow to go into the polling place on Election Day and make a truly educated choice. It never happened. It would go more like this: When the Iowa caucus approaches, I would attempt to familiarize myself with the names of the candidates in the running. I would search my brain for information on caucuses from my high school poly sci class, and I would fail. I would read an article in Time magazine on one or another political candidate or issue, and I would fall asleep. I would attempt to watch a debate if it didn't interfere without necessary television like ER or reruns of Benny Hill, and I would fall asleep. I would shamefully abandon all hope of figuring any of it out on my own and I would call my friend Andie, who was a poly sci major in college and actually worked for a time in the government (don't ask me what branch, I was much, much more impressed when she did the radio news during the Imus show for several years) and I would ask Andie who to vote for. And she'd tell me. And I would. I was just proud of my self for voting.
This time, I made a similar vow. Except this time it's working. At a time when I've typically already fallen sleep (yes, I relaixe it's onl been a matter of weeks), I'm interested to see who is winning the primaries in which states. I've actually visited candidate websites (though I can't get too far because I refuse to give them my email address). And I actually watched almost all of the new Hampshire debate a couple of weeks ago. This was helped by the fact that we have TiVo, so the pressure to watch it all live, and all at once, was off. And I would have watched it all, but I realized the Republicans were interested in nothing much more than making sure the US was still a superpower. So after an hour an 45 minutes of them, I gave up. But I watched the whole Democratic debate. And I have anxiously awaited results for the primaries thus far. And I was gleefully happy with myself. I thought maybe I was maturing. Maybe I had finally become socially and politically conscious enough to make my own decisions. But I realized that no, this wasn't it. You see, this whole primary business, the whole debates and voters and stuff, is really just like a very long and debatably more important, though less entertaining, reality show. So here I must thank Jeff Probst, Simon Cowell, Phil whatever his name is from the Amazing Race, and more recently, the people with forgettable names (Carson being the exception) from Crowned. After years of watching reality shows, and hanging on for months to see who will be the winner in the end, I can apply these same principles of dogged persistence to the presidential race. I do realize, because we have LONGEST FREAKING ELECTION PROCESS IN THE FREE WORLD, that my attention will need to be held slightly longfer. And for this, I respectfully request a few immunity challenges, road blocks, and even Simon telling one or two of the hopefuls "You're dreadful, get out of here," before November rolls around and I can enter the polling place with confidence...and likely a toddler at my feet, before casting my vote and mumbling under my breath "The tribe has spoken."